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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-20 08:31
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling & John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I and II (English)(Hardcover) - John Tiffany & J K Rowling Jack Thorne

Albus Severus Potter is sorted into Slytherin, and his only friend turns out to be Scorpius Malfoy, whose paternity is rumored to be Voldemort himself. Add to that the estrangement between Harry and his son, another uprising of dark powers, the emergence of a Time-Turner, Amos Diggory turning up at Harry's doorstep with a desperate request, and Harry's scar burning again which leads to ill-spoken words during a quarrel and hasty decisions - and perhaps the downfall of the wizarding world.

 

First of all, this story is told in script-form which takes away quite a bit regarding the inner motivation of characters. Most of it felt extremely like bad fanfiction, Hermione as Minister of Magic (and apparently only her marriage to Ron enables her to do that), Draco's suddenly the trio's friend, bringing back Cedric as some kind of focal point, the idea of Voldemort's child etc. And this is perhaps the greatest flaw: I didn't quite understand why Albus would attempt to restore Cedric back to life in the first place? Granted, he's unhappy, feels misunderstood and unloved by his father, but change history, probably even erasing himself from history?

 

And let's not mention all the other head-scratch moments: Amos Diggory would come to ask for Cedric's return 22 years after he'd died? Grief can do strange things, I'll grant you that. But why doesn't anyone question his motives, and especially the strange niece no one has seen before? In one of the changed timelines Albus and Scorpius humiliated Cedric during the 2nd task of the Triwizard Tournament which turns Cedric towards the Death Eaters... Really? He had a lot going for him, he was head boy, had tons of friends, and all this wouldn't count for anything because he was humiliated during the TriWi-Tournament? We're not talking about Harry, Albus or Draco here, after all, we're talking about a boy who had everything, loving parents, adoring friends. I don't buy that. (And let's not forget that when the boys try to correct their interference with the past, it's never told that they also correct that mistake, just somehow they find themselves back in the lake.)

 

Essentially, this is the story of parents and children: parents who lost their children, parents who can't connect with their children (and vice versa), and children who lost their parents, all this covered in prophecies and ridiculous time-travel. Had this been a novel I'd have expected more focus on the emotions, the relationships - and maybe then, the story would have worked better and the existence of Delphi would have been better explained: no one knew about the lovechild of Bellatrix and Voldemort?

 

But as is, the most relatable characters are Draco and Scorpius with a little helping of a Snape-cameo. The others are mere copies of their younger selves (especially when in alternate timelines Ron and Hermione restart their will they-won't they-routine). I liked the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, and I thought back then that Harry showed hard-earned maturity in advising Albus essentially to be who he is. Unfortunately he loses that maturity here altogether. Of course, all ends well, harsh words are forgiven and bridges built.

 

But while it was good to have another glimpse into the Potter-verse, I'm also somehow disgusted at such a blatant attempt at milking the cash cow just a bit further. Because let's be honest, The Cursed Child lacks detail, it lacks coherence and characterization. Quite frankly, JKR should have stopped while she was ahead instead of being lured again into the spotlight by the call of fame and money.

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text 2017-07-14 00:26
Out of My Comfort Zone
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf,David Drummond

I've never done a buddy read or joined a book club before, so this is new territory for me. I started listening about an hour ago and so, far, I'm enjoying the book and the experience. Still, I'm not quite sure how all of this works, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

 

I will say that this is a very interesting read considering that I just finished listening to a Great Courses lecture series on the Industrial Revolution. There is a certain amount of overlap in the two discussions.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-15 20:09
The House of God by Samuel Shem
The House of God - Samuel Shem

Around here the postgraduate system of education in medicine is quite different than the American one, but still I could detect quite a few similarities - because I guess, whereever you are, patients, the medical hierarchy (the ice-cream cone) and what it does to you as intern, is quite the same.

 

So I could relate to the terror of the first rotation, to the thrill of the Emergency Ward, the horror of Gomer City, the internal detachment, the need to hide inside yourself, to witness colleagues being crushed by the system... and also the realization of what's going on and trying to get ahead of it. Unfortunately, I had more Jo's and Leggos than Fats during my internship... because his rules, even though they sound funny and callous at first are hard-learned lessons and much more important than always doing whatever medical science is able to offer.

 

Of course, this novel is also a product of its time, a male-dominated environment where sex is kind of the only relief of stress and pressure - not to say that it's much different nowadays, especially if you work hours that only allow you to go home to sleep but otherwise you pretty much spend your day in the hospital -, but I could have done without the various sexual experiences of the interns. Then again, it's a symptom of this system.

 

Overall, certainly a novel an intern, no matter where he or she works, should read.

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review 2017-05-12 20:02
Abgebrochen: Steel Eyes
Steel Eyes - Melissa S. Price

Schon als ich das Buch gekauft habe hatte ich ein paar Zweifel ob das was für mich ist. Aber die Bewertungen waren durchweg gut und der Klappentext klang schon irgendwie interessant, so dass ich Steel Eyes eine Chance geben wollte. Leider hat sich das Buch völlig anders entwickelt als ich dachte, es hält sich auch nur bedingt an den Klappentext. So musste ich das Buch aufgrund akuter Langeweile nach 65% dann doch noch abbrechen.

Steel Eyes beginnt mit zwei jungen Frauen, die sich zufällig begegnen und einen prickelnden aber unpersönlichen Moment miteinander teilen. Beide gehen anschließend wieder ihre eigenen Wege, keine kennt den Namen der anderen. Ein paar Jahre später begegnen sie sich erneut, wieder teilen sich ihre Wege ohne viele private Worte ausgetauscht zu haben. Kurz darauf begegnen sie sich wieder, lernen sich diesmal besser kennen, aber nach ein paar Monaten – na, wer sieht es kommen? – teilen sich ihre Wege wieder … so geht es DIE GANZE ZEIT. Das Buch zieht sich über mindestens 30 Jahre, vielleicht auch mehr. Als es zu Beginn des dritten Teils hieß »7 Jahre später« hat mich die Geduld verlassen. Wahrscheinlich treffen sich die beiden Frauen letztlich im Altenheim wo sie dann gemeinsam sterben, oder sich jeden Tag neu kennenlernen und anschließend getrennte Wege gehen können, weil sie beide an Alzheimer leiden. Ich weiß es nicht und bin auch nicht erpicht darauf es herauszufinden.

Irgendwie hatte ich bei dem Buch das Gefühl die Autorin wusste nicht welche Geschichte sie erzählen will und erzählt deswegen alle auf einmal. Es soll wohl so eine lebenslange Schicksalssache sein, bei der sich die Wege zweier füreinander bestimmte, aber von den äußeren Umständen gehinderte Menschen immer wieder begegnen. Soweit hätte ich mich damit anfreunden können, aber dann kommt unerwartet noch ein halbgarer Spionageplot auf, mit Mossad Agenten die völlig profillos sind. Ein klassischer Fall von »viel erzählt, wenig geliefert«, denn die beiden Agenten sind einfach super unnütz und können eigentlich nichts, außer erzählen, was für voll tolle und geheimnisvoll agierende Agenten sie sind. Echte Spionagearbeit? Fehlanzeige. Rumstehen und ein, zwei Mal alle 100 Seiten einen Satz loswerden überzeugt mich nicht.

Daneben werden dann auch noch etliche Lebensphasen aus verschiedenen Perspektiven erzählt, es gibt wahnsinnig viele langatmige Passagen die inhaltlich nicht viel beitragen und die beiden Hauptcharaktere waren mir auch die Hälfte der Zeit unsympathisch. Alex wird als diese schlagfertige, leichtlebige Person dargestellt, die sich Hals über Kopf in Kenna verliebt und ein bisschen unsicher, ja gar verwundbar rüberkommen soll. In Wahrheit ist sie aber einfach nur untreu und egoistisch und ändert ihre Zuneigung so schnell, dass einem schwindelig werden kann. Und Kenna hatte ich auf dem Kieker seit sie von einer Sekunde auf die andere ihren Job als Kellnerin kündigt. Da stellt sich nämlich raus, dass sie eigentlich stinkreich ist, den Job nur macht um sich normal zu fühlen, und jetzt, da sie neue Pläne hat, macht sie sich mit ihrem ebenfalls reichen Bruder drüber lustig, was für ein ungebildeter und beschränkter Geist der Cafébesitzer doch ist. Er hat es nämlich gewagt zu kritisieren, dass seine Kellnerin spontan das Weite sucht. Stehe ich voll drauf, wenn so elitäre reiche Schnösel den arbeitenden Pöbel als geistig beschränkt bezeichnen …

Ne, also mir ist schleierhaft weshalb das Buch bisher fast nur 4 oder 5 Sterne bekommen hat. Die eigentliche Geschichte hätte man mit viel weniger Blabla und weniger Deus-Ex-Machina-Lösungen erzählen können. Klarer Daumen runter.

Source: moyasbuchgewimmel.de/abgebrochen-steel-eyes
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-02 09:38
Worlds of Star Trek: DS9: #1 Cardassia by Una McCormack & Andor by Heather Jarman
Cardassia and Andor - Una McCormack,Heather Jarman

"The Lotus Flower" depicts the problems and antagonism Keiko is facing in her multispecies effort to render Cardassian soil fertile again. Meanwhile, the new castellan Alon Ghemor and Garak are fighting to keep the fledgling democracy alive in the face of isolationist movements.

 

This is quite a good story about the rise of isolationist movements, about the recruitment of young people for extremist purposes (because they lack certainty and purpose over their own future), and about finding where you belong in a democracy that is still forming after the age-old reign of dictatory leaderships. Quite a mirror of modern politics... if just finding similarities and common ground (or at least having the intention to do so) were so easy in real life, many atrocities could be prevented, I guess.

 

"Paradigm" forces Shar to confront the loss of his bondmate Thriss, his guilt and his position in Andorian society... all while being under pressure by his "mother" and having increasing feelings for Prynn Tenmei.

 

I'm afraid I'm not going to become a friend of Jarman's style any time soon. Her prose doesn't flow as well as that of other authors and I had the feeling of being stuck on a single page for ages. So that's a definite negative point. On the other hand, by the end I was fully engaged in this story and moved by the final few scenes. Shar's being pressured by practically all sides, reminded of his duties in a diminishing Andorian society (due to reproductive issues which led to a population of 3 billion dwindling down to a mere 90 million) but also fighting for his own freedom. Because how can anyone in a society that only revolves around bonds, that are matched artificially instead of naturally, and parenting duties be free? What about individual desires such as careers or partners outside a bond? And what about those who can't withstand that pressure (like Thriss)? This is quite a melancholy story about a person who fights to escape but in the end decides to go through with his societal obligations after all, even though the outside pressure (and inborn guilt) is more or less removed from him. A decision which left me pensive.

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